Caneton a l’orange recipe


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Caneton à l’Orange [Roast Duck with Orange Sauce]
One of the most well known of all the duck dishes, caneton à l’orange, is roast duck decorated with fresh orange segments and accompanied by an orange-flavored brown sauce. Its most important element is its sauce—a rich, strong, meaty, duck essence darkened with caramel, flavored with wine and orange peel, and given a light liaison of arrowroot. You can and should prepare the sauce well ahead of time so that when the duck is roasted, the dish is within 2 to 3 minutes of being done.
Caneton a l'orange recipe
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Caneton a l'orange recipe
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Blanching the orange peel
  1. Remove the orange part of the skin in strips with a vegetable peeler. Cut into julienne (small strips 1/16 inch wide and 1½ inches long). Simmer for 15 minutes in a quart of water. Drain. Pat dry in paper towels.
  2. Roasting the duck
  3. Season the duck cavity with salt and pepper, add a third of the prepared orange peel, and truss the duck. Roast it according to the master recipe
The sauce base
  1. While the duck is roasting, make a sweet-and-sour caramel coloring as follows: Boil the sugar and vinegar over moderately high heat for several minutes until the mixture has turned into a mahogany-brown syrup. Immediately remove from heat and pour in ½ cup of the duck stock. Simmer for a minute, stirring, to dissolve the caramel. Then add the rest of the stock, beat in the arrowroot mixture, and stir in the orange peel. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes or until the sauce is clear, limpid, and lightly thickened. Correct seasoning, and set aside.
The orange segments
  1. Cut the 4 oranges into neat, skinless segments and place in a covered dish.
Final assembly
  1. When the duck is done, discard trussing strings, and set it on a platter. Place it in the turned-off hot oven, leaving the door ajar.
  2. Remove as much fat as you can from the roasting pan. Add the wine and boil it down rapidly, scraping up coagulated roasting juices and reducing the liquid to 2 or 3 tablespoons.
  3. Strain the wine reduction into the sauce base and bring to the simmer. Stir in the orange liqueur by spoonfuls, tasting. The sauce should have a pleasant orange flavor but not be too sweet. Add drops of orange bitters or lemon juice as a corrective.
  4. Just before serving, and off heat, swirl in the butter enrichment, and pour the sauce into a warmed sauce-boat.
  5. Place a line of orange segments over the length of the duck and heap the rest at the two ends of the platter. Spoon a bit of sauce with peel over the duck, and serve.
Recipe Notes

Nothing should interfere with the flavors of the duck, the sauce, and the oranges. Sautéed or shoestring potatoes, or homemade potato chips are your best choice. Serve a good red Bordeaux-Médoc, or a chilled white Burgundy—Meursault, Montrachet, or Corton-Charlemagne.

Under the ingredients needed for the sauce are 2 cups of excellent duck stock. This should be prepared ahead of time, as it must simmer about 2 hours.

A 5½-lb. ready-to-cook duckling
½ tsp salt
⅛ tsp pepper
A pinch of thyme or sage
A small sliced onion
Season the inside of the duck with salt, pepper, herbs, and the sliced onion. Secure the legs, wings, and neck skin to the body. Prick the skin around the thighs, back, and lower breast. Dry the duck thoroughly.
A shallow roasting pan just large enough to hold the duck easily
1 medium sliced carrot
1 medium sliced onion
Place the duck breast up in the roasting pan, strew the vegetables around it, and set it in the middle level of the oven for 15 minutes to brown lightly.
A bulb baster
Reduce oven to 350 degrees, and turn the duck on its side. Regulate heat so duck is always making cooking noises but fat is not burning. Remove accumulated fat occasionally (a bulb baster will suck it up easily). Basting is not necessary.
About 30 minutes later, or about halfway through, turn the duck on its other side.
½ tsp salt
Fifteen minutes before the end of the estimated roasting time, salt the duck and turn it breast up.
The duck is done to a medium rare if the juices from the fattest part of the thigh or drumstick run faintly rosy when the meat is pricked, and when the duck is lifted and drained, the last drops of juice from the vent are a pale rose. The duck is well done when the juices run pale yellow.
When done, discard trussing strings, and place the duck on a serving platter. Set in turned-off oven and leave the door open while preparing the sauce, which will take 3 to 4 minutes.
1½ to 2 cups brown duck stock, beef stock, or canned beef bouillon
Optional: 3 or 4 Tb port
Tilt the roasting pan and spoon out all but 1 tablespoon of fat. Add the stock or bouillon and boil rapidly, scraping up coagulated roasting juices, and crushing the vegetables, until liquid is reduced at least by half. Correct seasoning. Add optional wine and simmer a minute to evaporate its alcohol.
1 to 2 Tb softened butter
Off heat and just before serving, swirl the butter into the sauce and strain it into a sauceboat. Pour a bit of sauce over the duck, and serve.
Roast duck may wait in the turned-off hot oven, its door ajar, for about 30 minutes before serving.